By: Hans Themistode
The Heavyweight division has somewhat of an arbitrary list. But just about everyone views the top of the weight class the same. Former WBC titlist Deontay Wilder, current WBC belt holder and Lineal champ Tyson Fury and unified champion Anthony Joshua are all at the top.
One name that is never mentioned amongst those three is Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev. Actually, forget about the top three, Pulev isn’t considered a top five Heavyweight. And seldom cracks the top 10. That is exactly why most are looking at Anthony Joshua’s upcoming match against Pulev as a gimme.
Well, almost. Had this matchup taken place one year ago in early 2019, then no one would think much of it.
At the time, Joshua was on top of the world. He was fresh off a knockout win over Alexander Povetkin and prior to that, he easily outpointed former champ Joseph Parker. To sum it all up, he looked unstoppable. He was six feet six inches tall and looked like you would need hands made out of steel in order to knock him out. If anyone had an aura of invincibility, it was Joshua. But things quickly changed when he got beat down and stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr.
Give Joshua credit though, he came back six months later and won the immediate rematch. But still, promoter of Pulev, Bob Arum isn’t buying it.
“He has no chin. I knew Andy Ruiz prior to his first fight with Joshua. Every one of Ruiz’s fights except the one previous to that [Alexander Dimitrenko] was promoted by us. So we are experts on Andy Ruiz. We know how good he is, what he lacks, we know he has fast hands, a pretty good chin, but he’s not a knockout guy,” said Arum.
“Trust me, look at his record. He fought a lot of ham & eggers and he couldn’t knock them out. The fact that he knocked out Joshua the way he did indicates to me that Joshua’s chin is very, very suspect. If you compare Ruiz with Pulev, Pulev is a much better fighter than Andy Ruiz. Therefore, what I’ve said is if Ruiz can knock Joshua out, then Pulev has an even better chance to knock him out.”
At one point in time, the words of the 88 year old Arum would be taken as gospel. If he said his man is going to win then that’s what’s going to happen. Now however, he seems to be on an island all by himself as oddsmakers all around the world have made Joshua a huge favorite. -1100 to be exact. Meaning you would have to risk $1,100 just to bring back $100. Pulev on the other hand, would bring back betters $700 for that same $100 bet.
The two are scheduled to face off on June 20th, but with this global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, their bout has been pushed back. When will it take place is anyone’s guess. But when it does, Arum is fully expecting a Pulev knockout win.